Each month during the Year of Mercy we will highlight one or two of the Corporal or Spiritual Works of Mercy. We receive so many blessings from the Lord, the outpouring of His mercy and love. We share that mercy and love with others in corporal, or material ways, as well as in spiritual ways. Jesus Christ was the innocent victim who offered His life for us and our salvation. Guilty of no crime, He was treated as a criminal, whipped and beaten and nailed to a cross. And yet He chose to love. For it is love alone which conquers evil, the light which scatters the darkness. When we are wronged, we can choose to live in the darkness, choosing vengeance, wrath, anger, or hatred. We can visit evil upon others, just as it has been brought upon us. Or we can emulate Jesus Christ, bear the wrong, and be joined to Him in so doing. We can hold onto burdens, or we can find healing and freedom and peace in Jesus Christ. Even when we have not been shown mercy, we must still extend it to others. These are our brothers and sisters—and Jesus Christ invites us to love them, and to share with them from the mercies that we have received.
Our world is filled with injustice. We see it on our screens, and before our very eyes. If we allow the sufferings and evils of the world to consume us, we will be swallowed up by the darkness. We must instead fix our eyes on the Lord Jesus, trust in Him and cling to hope. We must never turn to evil ourselves. This is truest when it is we who are the victims—when it is we who are wronged. We must not give ourselves over to bitterness, to anger, to hatred. We must not wish evil upon the other, or commit evil against the other—in thought, word or deed. Jesus commands that we love even our enemies, those who are against us. We must not give the Devil a chance to work on us. As soon as we find ourselves growing frustrated or upset, we should step away and refocus on Jesus Christ and the love He has for us, and the love we are called to share. We must bear wrongs—and we must do so with patience. In this way we will be like Jesus Christ, and share in the love of the Father in Heaven—a love we are called to share.
Elizabeth was born in Paris in 1866. She fell in love with Felix Leseur and married him two years later at the age of 23. Just before the wedding she discovered that while he came from a very Catholic family, he no longer practiced the faith. In fact, he was the editor of an anti-clerical, atheistic paper in Paris—sentiments in vogue at the time. They had an ever growing disagreement over religion, and his attacks were so vicious she actually gave in to doubt and left the Church for two years. Rediscovering the gift of faith, she committed herself to a silent path towards heaven, filled with patience, charity towards others and prayers for her husband. She was the victim of physical suffering (various illnesses and eventually cancer), as well as emotional suffering (including the sorrow of infertility). Bedridden for the last year, she died in 1914. Felix’s taunts continued, but he also began to see the strength and hope that her faith gave her. Finding her diary after her death, he would finally be converted.